Biodiversity in the Philippines: What’s happening, and what you should know.

Written by: Julie

Edited by: Chris

Visual by: Yana


The Philippine archipelago is famous for its beautiful seas, home to thousands of different species and organisms, ranging from seagrass to marine mammals, such as dugongs. The biodiversity of the Philippines is due to its location in the coral triangle, which is home to more marine animals than any other place in the world. However, due to overfishing and pollution, among other human activities, there has recently been an unparalleled decimation of biodiversity. 

The Philippines contains two-thirds of the Earth’s biodiversity, and approximately 70% of all the world’s animal and plant species, due to its unique habitat and environment. However,it is also a global hotspot for wildlife trafficking and unsustainable tourism, which has led to a sharp decline of biodiversity and the sustainable  habitats that the organisms require in order to thrive.  The lack of extensive governmental regulations, and vast number of unregulated activities in the Philippines’ wild habitats, is partially responsible for this decimation. Furthermore, the Philippines has a relatively high poverty rate at 16%, and many of the impoverished use biodiversity as a resort to earn money and feed their families. 

Maintaining the biodiversity and habitats of the Philippines also benefits their residents, as the Philippines’ economy is greatly reliant on tourism. While tourism is one of the causes of the biodiversity loss in the recent years, it can become more sustainable through enhanced regulation and by promoting ecotourism, which will allow the country to reap the economic benefits of tourism without jeopardizing  the wild habitats. Through the further incorporation of the local community, rather than large corporations, in these tourist areas, the local community can also earn money and make better use of their home’s biodiversity. 

The loss of biodiversity also impacts the resident’s health negatively, as revealed by a study. It has been connected to climate change, which over the past few years, has had vicious effects on the inhabitants of the Philippines. For example, it has increased the spread of diseases such as cholera in certain rural areas.. Studies have shown that maintaining the marine environment and biodiversity of the Philippines can solve up to 30% of climate-related problems, as many of these organisms can deter effects of large typhoons and hurricanes, alongside absorbing greenhouse gas emissions. 

You can help save the wild habitats of the Philippines by volunteering on websites, donating money to various organizations, and raising more awareness about the issue on social media. A list of organizations are listed and linked below. The Philippines is our home, and it is our responsibility to keep it safe. We should all strive to ensure that we can preserve its diverse, unique environments.

https://www.conservation.org/philippines/projects/protecting-biodiversity-in-the-philippines

https://www.philbio.org.ph/

https://haribon.org.ph/support-our-work/environmental-education/biodiversity-on-wheels-bow/

https://www.philippineeaglefoundation.org/donate

Bibliography

Amjad, Tariq. “PHILIPPINES CORAL REEFS – THE AMAZON OF THE SEA.” Unico Conservation Foundation, 21 July 2016, unicoconservationfoundation.org.au/philippines-coral-reefs-the-amazon-of-the-sea/.

Dr. Theresa Mundita S. Lim- ACB. “World Environmental Health Day 2020: Biodiversity Loss Is a Global Health Emergency.” PIA News, Philippine Information Agency, 28 Sept. 2020, pia.gov.ph/news/articles/1054425.

FeetDoTravel. “Biodiversity of the Philippines and the Fight to Protect It.” FeetDoTravel, 3 Oct. 2020, http://www.feetdotravel.com/the-blog/biodiversity-of-the-philippines-and-the-fight-to-protect-it.

“The Philippines’ Marine Biodiversity Faces Decimation: Earth.Org – Past: Present: Future.” Earth.Org – Past | Present | Future, 19 Mar. 2021, earth.org/marine-biodiversity-in-the-philippines-faces-decimation/.

Protecting Biodiversity in the Philippines, http://www.conservation.org/philippines/projects/protecting-biodiversity-in-the-philippines.